Becoming a VA
So, you want to start your own Virtual Assistance business? Where do you begin?
First and foremost, please be sure that you are really serious about starting this kind of business. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a business like this off the ground. You will find times when you are feeling discouraged and wondering what the heck you have gotten yourself into, but these fears are quickly alleviated when you get a request for a quotation or, better yet, you get a new client.
When you first start your business, you will spend a lot of time researching both the demographics in your area as well as the viability of running this type of business. There are many sites on the web that can help you out; here are some of the best resources.
Virtual Assistant Networking (VAN) - The global meeting place for aspiring and successful Virtual Assistants. Over 2300+ members contribute to make this resource centre which includes a networking forum a wealth of information for running a home-based virtual assistant business.
Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection CVAC - A great place for Canadian VAs to meet and share ideas.
Australian Virtual Business Network Australia's only source of pre-qualified, skills tested and reference checked VAs and virtual business operators.
Elite Office Support - A worldwide listing of Virtual Office Assistants.
A Clayton's Secretary - Established in 1996 and based in Australia, this organization is a great resource for clients seeking VA support and also provides ongoing peer support for its members, worldwide.
AdminAssist.ca - Helping Virtual Assistants do their job!
Virtual Assistants - a very extensive article by Stacy Brice
The VAS System - Virtual Assistant Startup System - The Complete Business System To Help You Start Your Own Profitable Home-based Virtual Assistant Business, Easily and Quickly ... 100% Guaranteed
Free E-books - This page lists several ebooks that are free to download and, it also lists numerous other sites that offer ebooks as well.
The above links should definitely help you get started in the VA business. Each of these sites are loaded with links, tips and resources that you will find highly beneficial. Don't forget to bookmark them (and this page :-) for future reference.
Now, we still have some helpful hints that we would like to pass on to you. So....here we go:
Do a search of virtual assistants and word processors in the major search engines. Each one is original in it's own right and can provide you with a different view of how to make this kind of business successful.
Be sure you have decided on an appropriate company name. Then put together a business card and brochure. Janice Byer recently wrote an article on marketing strategies ...."You Are What You Communicate" which outlines the steps you should follow when trying to convey your message on paper or on the web. Actually, why not read all of the articles while you are there. They are based on "been there, done that" experience of a small business owner.
Network, network, network! Every opportunity you get, give your literature to someone. Even if they may never need your services, they may know someone who does, or someone who knows someone who does. Attend your local networking meetings.
Join business associations in your area. Many of our members belong to their local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade. They work together to improve the business and residential sectors of our community. Joining your Chamber or Board will give you an abundance of opportunities to network and stay in touch with your target market.
Sign up for online newsletters, they can be a wealth of information. There are so many out there these days that are loaded with great ideas and tips.
Pick up business magazines whenever you get a chance. These, too, are loaded with helpful information.
Take a small business course, continually upgrade your skills, etc., etc., and buy the books listed below. Although written by those in the US, they will help guide you through other steps that you can take.
We hope this helps you get started and guides you to success. Remember that this is a long and rewarding road that you are taking. Live, learn and enjoy!
CVAC members are eligible to apply for the Certified Canadian Virtual Assistant accreditation.